Updated: Jan 6
These words spiral around my mind day and night, keeping my already tired eyes open and my nights sleepless.
For the past few weeks, I have felt like I'm in a bit of a funk-smoothie [a term I just coined] - a mixture of self-sabotaging behaviour, imposter syndrome, and indecisiveness. My inner critic has had me tied up, mentally speaking.
Sound familiar? It's a human thing. We live our lives in seasons. One season we feel great about our achievements and abilities and then another season of life comes and we feel like we can do nothing right and that everything that has been deemed an accomplishment is a misidentification. This is called Imposter Syndrome ["loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they're deserving of accolades". Click here for the source].
Another way we often inhibit our own success is by intentionally sabotaging ourselves [or more cleverly termed, self-sabatage]. Now, why would anyone want to sabotage their own success? We have so many expectations placed on us [something that is talked about a lot in Anne's upcoming self-help book - stay tuned!). The weight of this expectation can be too much, so when we feel like we will never succeed anyway, we sabotage any effort towards a goal. That makes sense, right? It's a defense mechanism.
Self-sabotage occurs when we destroy ourselves physically, mentally, or emotionally, or deliberately hinder our own success and wellbeing by undermining personal goals and values (Brenner, 2019).
Now indecisiveness plagues us all no matter what season we are in, but what I'm talking about here is chronic indecisiveness that plagues you even when it comes to making the smallest, most meaningless decisions. For instance, Starbucks or McDonald's? Most days this is not a difficult decision for me to make, but when I am experiencing indecisiveness at the chronic level I can't choose.
And that's because I am afraid of any consequence that could arise from me stepping out and making a decision. I'm afraid of the guilt and blame that might come out of those consequences. In reality, this is obviously irrational. I mean, what kind of consequences are going to come from me choosing Starbucks over McDonald's [the inevitable decision-really]? Probably nothing. And that's why indecisiveness at this level is not good. It stops you from being able to confidently live your life. It stops you from moving forward and having the confidence to make good decisions.
Living your life with self-sabotaging behaviour, indecisiveness, or imposter syndrome is like living on a teeter-totter. Not healthy. Dangerous. Nauseating.
So what can you do?
5 Daily Practices to Overcome Your Inner Critic
You don't have to live your life stuck in this never-ending cycle of achieving your goals one moment and then stepping back and letting your inner critic take over the next. You can easily get out of this cycle with a little positive talk and help from friends and family.
Speak the truth over yourself on a daily basis. Remember that you are worthy of love and that there are people in this world who value you and your gifts. You have a place amongst the best. Remind yourself of these things every day and eventually, your mind will truly believe it. Here are ten positive affirmations to get you started:
I’m rising above the thoughts that are trying to make me angry or afraid.
I am grateful for everything I have in my life.
I can be whatever I want to be.
I am not defined my by past; I am driven by my future.
I am intelligent and focused.
I am constantly growing and evolving into a better person.
I do not waste away a single day of my life. I squeeze every ounce of value out of each of my days on this planet—today, tomorrow, and every day.
I belong in this world; there are people that care about me and my worth.
My life has meaning. What I do has meaning. My actions are meaningful and inspiring.
I am having a positive and inspiring impact on the people I come into contact with.
Find more here.
Keep a Journal
You'll remember that a few articles ago we talked about the power of keeping a self-reflective journal. Clearing your mind and reflecting on your thoughts and feelings in the form of writing has powerful effects on your mental state. The process can bring to light truths that you have ignored. And what's more, you'll be able to track your improvements over time, thus realizing just how talented and amazing you really are.
Take the plunge. Go to the store right now and pick up a notebook that you can journal in every day. You can start this practice by responding to the following questions, all geared towards battling your inner critic:
How do you encourage yourself when you're trying something new?
How do you shift your mindset if it isn't working for you?
What can you do today that you didn’t think you could do a year ago?
How do you practice self-acceptance?
How do you trust yourself to make big decisions?
How do you forgive yourself when you make a mistake?
How do you calm your nerves in a difficult situation?
What new opportunities have come out of the challenges you’ve faced?
How do you remind yourself that you're enough?
What makes you feel powerful?
Surround Yourself with Loved Ones
Sometimes all we need is to be reminded of our strengths and gifts. And who better to provide this much-needed positive affirmation than the people who know you the best: your friends and family. Be intentional about spending extra time with the people that love you and can speak to you honestly about your strengths and weaknesses. Talk to them about how they battle their inner critic and learn from them. Maybe they have had similar experiences [very likely since we have all been overly critical of ourselves]. Even the most stable person in your life has faced off with their inner critic. I guarantee it.
Seek Out The Help of a Therapist
If you think that you require more than just positive affirmation from yourself or others, then it might be a good idea to look in the yellow pages for an excellent therapist. A professional therapist can help you to explore the deep chasms of your heart and mind and determine the underlying issues that are impacting your self-doubt.
Do you struggle with self-doubt? What strategies have you tried to overcome it? Tweet us @annevangessel0
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